Tools and Tips That Could Save Your Life During a Disaster

Disaster preparedness remains top of mind for individuals and business worldwide. Here are three articles with some good ideas on how to prepare for disaster.

Gadgets and Applications to Depend On

The National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University says that less than 10 percent of Americans own a disaster relief kit with water, food, spare batteries and other supplies. According to the Globe’s Hiawatha Bray, households and businesses should keep a few electronic lifesavers on hand, including a satellite communicator, disaster apps for smartphones, and a hand-powered radio that can also keep your batteries charged.

Crankable radios, generally used on camping trips, are great to have on hand in the event of an emergency. You can pick one up at just about any local camping supplies store. Even the smallest device offers hours of radio listening with about five minutes of cranking.

Lifesaving software apps offer peace of mind as well. For example, the Disaster Readiness app ($1.99) from Phoneflips provides basic survival guidelines for everything from landslides and flash floods to nuclear war. How about downloading the US Army Survival Guide to your iPhone? It’s also just $1.99 at Apple’s App Store. In January 2010, Jive Media Inc.’s Pocket First Aid and CPR app helped a victim of the Haitian earthquake who was buried alive survive for nearly three days (priced at $3.99 for the iPhone or $2.99 for Android devices).

For those with a higher budget, consider satellite location devices, such as a subscription to GEOS ($119.95 per year). The worldwide emergency response network can relay your GPS location to the nearest police or aid workers.

For more information about live-saving gadgets, read the full article:

Keys to Riding Out Disasters

Make sure you have a plan in place in case of disaster. How will you react? What will you do first? Here are some tips from staff writer Laurie Winslow.

1. Take a home inventory: Document valuables and belongings by taking digital photos or videos of important items.

2. Keep a backup of computer files on a flash drive.

3. Create a financial “grab and go” kit, including auto and homeowners insurance policies, important financial and legal records, passports and birth certificates, and home inventory and safe deposit box contents list and key.

4. Store important records in a safe place, such as in a bank safe deposit box or a secure, fireproof and waterproof home safe. Remember: make sure that documents containing personal identity information are secured to prevent identity theft.

5. Keep some cash on hand for emergencies and the ability to buy food, clothing or water quickly.

For more information about disaster preparedness and post-disaster steps for faster recovery, read the full article:

Be Prepared for Earthquakes

Earthquake preparedness is also crucial for those living in susceptible areas. Talk to family members about how to best act during and after an earthquake. Also establish a meeting place where family members in different areas can connect after an earthquake. If you have children, make sure their school has a current emergency contact list, including at least one out-of-state number. Also, carry an emergency kit in your car. It should include water, a small amount of food, first-aid kit, and contact information.

For more information about earthquake preparedness, read the full article: